Candida, a yeastlike fungus, normally lives in moist areas of your body like your mouth, intestines and vagina without causing harm. However, if allowed to overgrow, candida causes infections like oral thrush, vaginal yeast infections and skin infections. That's where the candida diet comes in. As a low-sugar plan designed as a complementary approach to treating candida overgrowth, it calls for avoiding foods like potatoes. Don't change your diet without first talking to your doctor, and don't rely on diet alone as a treatment for candida overgrowth.
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Your body is host to various colonies of bacteria and yeasts. Normally the good bacteria, or probiotics, in your system keep the baddies like candida in check. However, a diet high in sugar upsets the balance of good to bad bacteria in favor of the bad guys, according to a review published in the journal Nutrients in 2012. On the other hand, a diet low in sugar promotes the growth of friendly bacteria, a benefit that helps control overgrowth of pathogens.
Potatoes Are a No-No
Following the candida diet requires you to avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, yams, plantains, winter squash and beets. In general, these foods, including potatoes, are a nutritious and a normal part of a healthy diet. However, while following the candida diet, it's necessary to avoid potatoes and other starchy vegetables because they are rich in starches that your body breaks down into sugar. This dietary change is temporary until your candida overgrowth is under control.
Other Foods to Avoid
The candida diet calls for you to ditch added and simple sugars like table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and foods made with these sugars. This means processed snack foods, candies, pastries, sugary beverages and the like are a no-go. You'll also avoid most dairy.
Build your meals around fresh lean meat and fish, nonstarchy vegetables, low-fungus nuts and seeds, whole grains, healthy oils and probiotic-containing dairy. Nonstarchy vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and eggplant. Examples of low-fungus nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, sunflower seed, hazelnuts and flaxseed.
Alternatives to Potatoes
If you need a substitute for potatoes, try cauliflower. For "faux" mashed potatoes, steam some cauliflower and puree it in a blender or food processor and add some garlic and herbs. To quench savory cravings for potato chips, have eggplant chips instead -- just slice some eggplant circles, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt before baking. As a substitute for traditional potato fries, use okra or zucchini to make faux fries. Experiment with a batter using allowed ingredients such as plain yogurt. Add crushed almonds to the batter to give it crunch. Once you have a batter just coat the "fries" and bake.